Starting a new job or launching yourself into a graduate training programme is an exciting but perhaps daunting prospect, especially when you’ve come straight out of college. It may be your first experience of a large workplace, or you may be moving to a new city. We can’t tell you what it’s like at other workplaces, what we do know is that at Musgrave you’ll fit right in! As a family business our culture is ‘family-focused’, friendly and welcoming. Here, some of our previous grads share their tips and suggestions for moving from college to the workplace to get the very best from your graduate experience:
Coming from college you may be hesitant to ask questions about why certain things are done the way they are. You may not want to seem foolish in front of your new co-workers. At Musgrave your input is encouraged and expected. Musgrave is a large organisation, in fact it’s Ireland’s largest private sector employer, with a lot of complexities and you are not expected to be an expert in everything! You have an opportunity to learn and to be curious about how the organisation operates. Grasp this opportunity and make the most of it. You will be working with people with vast experience and in-depth knowledge, so ask them questions to tap into this knowledge and experience.
As a graduate in Musgrave you will get face time with senior management and company directors. As part of your induction you will get to meet a wide range of people across different functions. It is important that you make a good first impression so be friendly, professional and engaging. Ask as many questions as you can and always thank people for their time. You will learn something new from everyone you meet!
When I was meeting people as part of my induction I tried to find out as much about them and their role as I could before the meeting. This meant that I could ask insightful questions during the meeting and I would encourage you to do the same.”
Extend your knowledge
Ensure that you are up to date with what is happening in the organisation and in the industry before you begin your role. Be curious; look up the latest food trends and follow some exciting food bloggers. People at Musgrave are passionate about food so be prepared to share that passion!
I keep a look out for exciting bloggers and industry publications to make sure that I have an understanding of the current market and of the latest trends that our customers are looking for.”
Set clear objectives
It is important that you always have the bigger picture in mind. Think about it this way: on completion of the graduate programme what do you want to have achieved? What key skills do you want to develop? Work with your manager to set milestones and timelines for your objectives. Look for honest feedback from your managers to see how you can work on your weaknesses and leverage your strengths. Remember, vision without action is hallucination – keep your milestones in mind and actively work to achieve them. This will ensure that once you complete the programme you will have put the most into it and will have got the most out of it.
Master your time
It would be fair to say that a lot of college students tend to leave things until the last minute! This is not a habit that you want to carry on into your professional life. Ensure that you can distinguish between the urgent and the important tasks. Make a to-do list every evening before you leave or every morning when you arrive at your desk. Time is a valuable resource so prioritise what tasks you need to complete each day. You are working in a fast-paced environment and sometimes you may feel that time can slip away from you. Effective time management is a skill that you develop over time.
I have picked up some great advice from my colleagues and from the IMI which have allowed me to manage my time better. I am still learning but I am getting better at it. One of my favourite quotes is “the bad news is that time flies: the good news is that you’re the pilot,” so don’t just manage your time, master it!”
Maintain a healthy work-life balance
One of the Musgrave values is “Working hard” and you will see this manifested in how your colleagues perform at work. It is important that you push yourself and get as much experience as you can. However, it is also important that you maintain a healthy work-life balance. It is all too easy to stay late, but it is more important and impressive if you can maximise how productive you are during normal working hours. Take up a new hobby outside of work that you can focus on, this will help you maintain a good work-life balance.
A new hobby gave me more focus to be productive during normal office hours and I found this productivity translating to days where I did not have anything pressing or urgent on in the evening.”
You are going to meet some wonderful people, people who are not only going to help you in your career but who are also going to become close friends. Musgrave has a very welcoming environment and people will go out of their way to help you settle in. Join work societies and go to social events as these are great ways to meet people and get to know them outside of the office.